Last semester, an adult male sexually assaulted a female student around 4:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22 on the second floor of Blackmore Library. Since then, some students have expressed concern upon entering the library, especially late at night or early in the morning.
The director of the library, Rachel Rubin, has added precautions to enhance the safety of students.
“We worked with Public Safety to make changes to our door schedule,” Rubin said. “So now you need a key card to use the South doors starting at 9 p.m., instead of 11 p.m. This is consistent with other buildings on campus.”
Campus faculty takes the safety of students seriously and understands their concerns.
“All of the employees on this campus are concerned with the safety of their students, and the staff of the library are no different,” Rubin said. “We train our supervisors to make sure they know what to do in the event of an emergency and to make sure that we are as prepared as we can be for a variety of situations.”
Like other buildings on campus, the library is monitored and made a safe place for students.
“The library is part of our campus and monitored by Public Safety the way all of the other buildings are,” Rubin said. “The library is a safe place to study, and it’s incumbent upon all of us to be alert to the people and activities around us to help keep it that way.”
Others among the library staff have expressed a heightened awareness for what’s going on around them, such as Isaiah Coe, a sophomore student and employee.
“I was not here during the incident; I had actually just left before it happened that night,” Coe said. “I definitely still feel safe working here, but I probably am a little more likely to keep an eye out for things going on.”
All staff of the library, even student employees, are trained to act in case of an emergency.
“I wasn’t working the night of the incident, but I still feel safe working here,” Hannah Heartsock, a first-year student and employee at the I.T. desk, said. “There are certain precautions we’re trained to take in case if something does happen. Such as calling Public Safety, and we normally keep pepper spray at our desks.”
The library staff has worked one-on-one with student employees to make sure that they are as prepared as possible in the case of such a drastic event. The library staff has also reminded students that Public Safety is always there to help in case of an emergency.
Students are still able to go to the library 24/7 to do some late night cramming before a tough exam or to work in study groups. All levels of the library are open to students during the day, ensuring that the academic atmosphere within its studious walls hasn’t changed.